Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thinning the Thistles

The Canada thistle is an attractive plant - lush green foliage and purple flowers. But it's invasive and very hard to control once it's established. Unfortunately thistle got a foothold several years ago along the beaver dam and the perennial plants were increasing. New shoots come up from the underground roots each spring.

Pulling the plants just makes the roots put up more shoots, so Rocky Morin, Beth MacCallum, and I spent several hours clipping the plants just as they started to flower. The idea is to let the plants put energy into growth and then remove the above-ground parts before they can seed or send energy back to the roots. In theory over several years that will do them in, and at the very least it gives other plants a chance. We took away two pickup loads this year. I sincerely hope it will be less next summer! Thanks Rocky and Beth for your help.

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